What Made You Purchase Your Last Book?

As an Author, I am constantly hearing that you need to have a great cover for people to pick up your book. You need a great blurb on the back to grab the readers interest. You need a well edited story to hold the readers attention. This all makes perfect sense, but I’m curious if there is more to it than this. I mean, I’d buy a book if I heard people saying how great it was, regardless of the cover. I’d buy a book a friend recommended to me without even looking at the blurb. I’d even read a book with a great story without too much concern for its poor editing. But everyone is different, so I want to ask you, What made you purchase your last book?

Learning. Adapting. Improving.

Wow… What a busy weekend! Saturday, I drove a Lotus Elige around a skid pan. The first few circuits were with an ex race-driver, advising me on where I was going wrong and coaching me on how to improve. I had a few spin outs at the start, but a few hours later, I was driving the car alone, drifting around the slippery track, in full control of the vehicle. It was really exciting and so much fun, I just wanted to keep gliding around the circuit (but I had to come off and make way for the next bunch of thrill seekers). The excitement of sliding around in a lotus was followed up by a trip to the movies to see the new ‘John Wick’ movie. Now anyone who really knows me, knows that I like a bit of action, and this film did not let me down. It was full on, edge-of-the-seat, stuff. Car chases, explosions and plenty of violence from start to finish. No deep plot, not much to think about, just a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-thrills kind of movie. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it!

Sunday was a little more subdued. I went to a writer’s workshop titled ‘From Character to Plot’, run by Louise Cusack. It was an informative workshop and really opened my eyes to the fact that, as a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants), I do not put a lot of effort into my character development. To sum things up, I went from learning some advanced driving skills to learning some advanced writing skills. I think I even learnt a little about myself. I’ve come to the realisation that my love of action and adventure lends itself to a tolerance for undeveloped characters and plot.

Now, this leads me on nicely to my next point. As you know, I released The Crimson Guild back in March. Well the reviews are starting to trickle in, and guess what? They’re saying that they are enjoying the fast paced story, but the characters feel under-developed. In my opinion, this workshop could not have come at a better time. If I had completed it before I wrote this book, I probably would not have paid much attention to the characterisation content of the workshop. But having listened to feedback, I paid more attention to this content. As a result, I now have some new skills and I’m better equipped, so my commitment to my readers is to work on improving. I will certainly be putting more effort into my character development in future.

To those that have written reviews, thank you. It’s great to hear that people are enjoying my work, but it’s just as important to receive constructive criticism. If you’ve read The Crimson Guild, I’d love to know what you thought. And if you have not read it yet, but you’re interested, you can purchase a copy here.

Book Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve is a story about love, courage and survival amid Mobile cities, ravaging each other for resources in a barren world.

The Bad Stuff: This is an old YA novel and the authors style is a little dated. There are multiple points of view and author interjections in parenthesis throughout the story.

The Good Stuff: While the style is unusual and dated, I enjoyed this book. There are some great characters and concepts, a few unexpected turns and a well established, albeit barren, wasteland of a world.

Overall, this is a good YA novel. You’ll come to love the main characters and want to see them succeed. There are a few twists you won’t see coming, that start very close to the beginning of the story. For entertainment value and creativity, I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks.

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Book Review: Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland

Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 7)Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Creating Character Arcs by K.M.Weiland is a guide for authors to help them improve the writing of their character arcs.

The Bad Stuff: There were a lot of examples in this book and I know they may be useful to some, especially as the examples cover different genres. There is also the fact that, what clicks with one person may not click with another, so having more examples can be beneficial. But, it felt like filler to me, padding out the pages with extra words.

The Good Stuff: Well, I read this all the way through and at the start I was thinking ‘this is all pretty obvious’ and it is, but this spells it out and makes you aware of the process and methods. It really opened my eyes to how little consideration I have put into planning my character arcs in the past. I will certainly be more aware of this in future and I think I will be inclined to give it greater consideration in future. Hopefully I will see further improvement in my writing from this.

Overall it was a good read, easy to understand and informative and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of character arcs. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks!

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Why is having fun so painful?

Hello Readers,

I thought I would do a more personal post today, so I’m going to let you know what I got up to over the weekend. Firstly, it was an early start for me, early being 6am. “That’s not early!” I hear some of you saying, and for some people, it isn’t, but I’m not real good with early mornings and 6am is early for me. Anyway, after getting myself ready in a zombie-like state, it was off to Mount Tamborine. There’s a beautiful national park at Mount Tamborine and amongst it is a place called Thunderbird Park, where you can go to fossick for Thunder Eggs, but that’s another story. There is also a put-put (mini golf) course, laser skirmish, a café, and a tree top challenge – an obstacle course in the trees. It was the treetop challenge that drew me there. Why not have some fun in the treetops? I thought. Well after 5 hours across 4 courses that get progressively harder, I was exhausted. My hands were sore from holding on, my legs were sore from using muscles I didn’t know I had and my arms… well they almost decided to give up and play dead! Here’s a couple of pic’s for you.

This is me, having completed the easy circuit, thinking the hard circuit is going to be a piece of cake. I’m such an optimist.

tree top climb1

And below you can see me standing on the platform in the trees.

Tree top climb2

Flick forward to Sunday morning:

Ouch! my body aches… I roll out of bed, shuffle to the shower, soaking my aching muscles. I soon find out I’ve been thrown into some crazy world of ‘It’s a Knock Out’, ‘Wipe out’ and ‘Takeshis Castle’ all rolled into one, as I try to get dressed and my muscles refuse to comply. I hobble into the kitchen and fumble through making a coffee, like a two year old with a shape sorter toy, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I sit down, feeling a little sorry for myself, and ease my super-heavy coffee cup to my lips, biceps straining under what can only be liquid lead within my cup; nope, it’s just coffee! I gulp it down and everything seems a little better. Why is having fun so painful?